Effective communication increases the use, value and impact of science,
and drives positive change.
Strategic work done to date
Before I begin any communication activity I help clients to better understand their communication goals. What impacts do they want their communication efforts to have, and on who? What does that mean for the kind of communication material we develop, and where and when we share it? I find this part of my work very satisfying, as it enables me to support clients in creating products that can have tangible impacts, and that makes the best use of clients’ time, money and human resources. Over the years I’ve developed detailed mid-term communication strategies for the ACDI, ARUA-CD, PRIMED, Zamani Project and the Neuroscience Institute, and infused strategic thinking into my work with all my other clients.
Writing, editing and design work done to date
I thoroughly enjoy grappling with scientific content and figuring out how to describe its processes and findings in compelling and accessible ways. Over the years I have done extensive writing, editing and design work for all of my clients, covering specialist fields such as climate change, neuroscience, archaeology, sustainable development, conservation, behavioural economics, water research and more. Some of the most rewarding of this work involves synthesising multiple scientific studies into impact-focused messages that are easy to understand and compelling to visualise. I’ve also enjoyed turning dry and jargon-heavy content from reports into interesting narratives that have served as foundation text for the websites, information briefs, video scripts, and other communication material I’ve developed.
Capacity building done to date
As a scientist I am acutely aware that researchers are seldom given training in science communication. Yet they’re almost always expected, by their funders in particular, to be able to communicate their work effectively in presentations, during media interviews and when writing for the popular press. During 2020 I worked with journalist Brendon Bosworth to create an online course that focuses on building people’s capacity in just these areas. We have run this course with diverse groups (ACDI, ARUA-CD, MLIA) from a wide range of specialisations, each time tailoring the content and structure to meet the clients’ needs. I have also separately designed two short courses, both run for ARUA-CD, one on giving online presentations and another on facilitating online sessions. Watching the 40-odd individuals who have taken these courses become more competent and confident science communicators is wonderfully energising, and I look forward to branching this training out further in the coming years.